Anybody else bored of this drivel? (😉). Wow. That was frustratingly grim. Fair play to 10 man Blackburn Rovers for taking their chance and winning the game but Brentford are now, officially, in trouble after head(less?) coach Dean Smith was forced to admit we were in a relegation battle. A 1-0 win for the visitors, following a late strike from Shane Duffy, made it 7(seven) losses from 8 for the Bees and sees us down to 18th – just six points off the relegation places.
“This is a relegation scrap, isn’t it?” asked BBC Billy Reeves in a post match interview that you can hear in full here. With Brentford now in to 33/1 to go down from 150/1 last weekend, Dean had no choice but to acknowledge : “It is at the moment, because we can’t seem to find a win even when we’re well on top in games and teams are down to ten men“.
There is now a break of two weeks until we go again and that will be a long time for us all to sweat on where the next points are going to come from. Yet again, we were party to a demonstration that holding on to the ball counts for nothing. Despite seeing 66% possession and having a man advantage for over a third of the game following the dismissal of Grant Hanley for a second bookable offence, Brentford failed to find the back of the net. Again.
Blackburn offered little yet despite plenty of grunt and teasing around the edge of the box, there was a distinct lack of penetration from the Bees. A couple of shots from distance aside, Alan Judge coming closest at the death, we were impotent. We should have taken advantage and, certainly, still had enough class players out there but we failed again. Instead, there were too many individuals playing for themself rather than trying the pass to release a team mate.
So is it the managerial/coaching set up or the players? Has the loss of Jota, Tarkowski and Toumani been the straw that broke the camel’s back? Why can’t we look like being even close to troubling a goalkeeper on any more than an occasional basis? Is Dean Smith displaying inspirational skills learned at the Leroy Rosenior school of motivational management? Or is something else going on behind the scenes to upset the vibe?
I wish I knew the answers but something isn’t right. Lee Carsley had the vast majority of these players firing on all cylinders during his brief stint at the helm but yesterday was yet another damp squib. The only positive to be taken out of it was the return to action of Scott Hogan who received a heroes ovation, coming on to the pitch for the final quarter hour.
John Swift missed proceedings, something that Dean confirmed to Billy was down to the player’s inappropriate use of social media the day before.
Whilst he hadn’t been due to start, the England U-21’s decision to post a somewhat questionable meme saw him axed even from the bench. Featuring what Billy described as, “A picture of a smiling hipster” you can understand why some people might have been upset.
And just to be clear, that’s due to the wording rather than mention of hipsters or just choosing to use a meme – the lowest of all art forms. Then again, I still cringe over Brentford ‘official’s’ Obama dig at Fulham last season. Let’s hope that won’t come back to haunt us.
Coming in a week that has seen the players stage their own meeting and the reaction to the QPR debacle described as “Phenomenal” (maybe, in retrospect, we need to revisit the dictionary) this was a disciplinary decision Dean could have done without. Swift of all players probably had to prove a few doubters wrong after the QPR no show. Yet despite this midweek positivity in the squad that we’d been told about, the player has put himself in a position where Dean has felt compelled to show who wears the trousers.
Brentford official would later describe the result as Blackburn stealing the points. As one Braemar road debutant would later put it, “How do you steal if it’s a gift?”
It was a tame surrender of an advantageous position and is fast leaving Dean Smith with a worse record than Atomic Kitten’s Greatest Hits.
And I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.